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Island Hopping Scuba (El Nido <=>Coron or similar)

Discussion in 'Philippine Paradise Divers' started by JSNewb, Nov 2, 2019.

  1. JSNewb

    JSNewb New

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: CA, USA
    3
    0
    Hi, we are two adults and two teenagers staying in the Philippines between Dec 26 and Jan6. Yes, I know it will be crowded and I know we are last minute. We will all be PADI open water certified but relatively novice.

    I'm looking for some ideas of 3-4 days of island hopping/scuba. I've looked at Tao and Submariners which run trips between El Nido and Coron but the timing does not work out with those companies. I like the idea of overnighting on small islands along the way. Does anyone have any ideas of other companies that do these trips? We are also open to a different location for a similar trip in the Philippines.

    Thanks.
     
  2. borisphotosafari

    borisphotosafari Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Banff, Alberta, Canada
    228
    145
    I am in El Nido now. The diving here is not the best, vis. I think a lot better around Coron. Lot more access to Coron by air Cebu Pacific and Philippines Airlines. Only Air Swift flies direct to El Nido and they are not cheap. Long van ride to Puerto Princesa to another airport.

    There are plenty of island resorts that are away from the main island. They are not budget. If you want to do a safari, find a dive shop in Coron, email them and they might be able to help you with your safari. There is a fast ferry from Coron to El Nido, 3.5 hours twice a day.

    There are island hopping day trips from El Nido, start 8:30 -9am, lunch included, back by about 4pm. They range 1200 to 1400 peso per person. You can also do a private boat for about 6-8000 peso. They do 4-5 stops on different islands where you can paddle around and snorkel. Booking in El Nido a day or 2 ahead is enough time, plenty of tour companies with lots boats here.
     
  3. JSNewb

    JSNewb New

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: CA, USA
    3
    0
    Thank you for your comments @borisphotosafari. I think we are leaning toward flying in/out of Coron and skipping El Nido altogether then.
     
  4. jaseUK666

    jaseUK666 Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: UK
    99
    45
    Coron is mostly wreck diving and they're all deeper than 60 feet/18m so possibly not the best place for newly certified OW divers.
     
  5. borisphotosafari

    borisphotosafari Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Banff, Alberta, Canada
    228
    145
    That's what I would do if you are keen to even come here for diving. You are losing days of getting to and from El Nido.
    Find a nice resort and enjoy your stay. There are resorts that are off the main island, away from cell and WiFi, some are a bit rustic and not as pricey.

    A good dive shop will find you suitable dive sites.
     
  6. bill22

    bill22 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Guam, USA
    856
    112
    Apologies... just saw this... where are you going to be in the Philippines during the rest of the time you're there? Was there a particular reason to go to El Nido or Coron?

    I'm guessing time of year has a lot to do with vis. I've been to El Nido twice, once in late April and once in June and thought it was fine. Coron I hit right after El Nido late April/early May that trip and at the time said it was the worst vis I'd experienced in the Philippines :) I still had a great time though :wink:

    Having said that it's all relative. I've pretty much always enjoyed the diving in the Philippines no matter where I've dived so the question becomes more of what do you want to see? If island hopping is something you really want to do either Coron or El Nido are good, but I think I enjoyed the island hopping a bit more in Coron :) Boris makes a very good point about access being better to Coron. You'll likely spend the better part of a day to get to El Nido if you fly to Puerto Princesa first and then take a van or bus. Air Swift I've never tried. I heard enough to believe it wasn't a route I would want to take!

    The diving in the sanctuary in Coron I thought was quite good, but I just did one dive there and the rest of the time I was focused on the wrecks. Jase also makes a good point about many of the wrecks being deep, but I think that whatever op you go with will be able to accommodate you with some shallower dives. You're only going to have a couple days diving from what you're saying. If you're set on diving and island-hopping I would agree with Boris that Coron would be your best overall choice.

    However if diving is your priority then there are a lot of places that might not require as much time or a flight that will cost you at least one dive day. Which is why I asked where you will be during the rest of your trip :)

    I'm headed to the Philippines myself on December 24th. I'll go to Puerto Galera on December 26th. Stay until the 29th and then transfer to Anilao until January 1st when I'll go back to Manila to catch a ferry to Cebu. Then I'll be in the Visaya's for about 2 1/2 weeks.

    I enjoyed the island-hopping we did in Coron but truthfully it's not something I've done much of. I go for the diving :coffee:
     
    Titatom likes this.
  7. Titatom

    Titatom Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tx
    97
    14
    HI, I just saw this thread. Looking for info on dive op at El Nido - Submariner dive Center, Palawan Divers...?? This is just for diving - no island-hop or safari, We found ourselves short of time if we proceed as planned to go to Anilao. I thought perhaps we can just hang out at El Nido a couple of days and get wet since we are already there. Flying back to Manila will cut short our diving days and this is just a short trip.

    Thank you for any suggestions, if you'd used either of the above dive operators.
     
  8. jhshrops

    jhshrops Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Madison Wisconsin
    21
    5
    Like JSN initial plan , I am going to PP and El Nido in March and looking for recommendations on Dive Operators and advice on best sites as only have 2 days to get underwater and the rest of the time island hopping and caving with family -
    Titatom - have you learned anything about these operators?? anyone else have suggestions?
     
  9. Titatom

    Titatom Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tx
    97
    14
    Hi JHShrops, we decided to just go to El Nido, do a day tour and then proceed to an island to snorkel. We're going with family too - all non-divers and few snorkelers. After much discussion, my husband decided to just skip the dive this trip. I'm disappointed but.....I am waiting for the pay-back :wink:

    Having said that, I had some communications with Submariner and El Dive. They both responded to my query promptly and gave plenty of info. The reviews I found on both (from the internet) were good. Videos of diving in El Nido show that it may not be spectacular but don't seem bad . They look like reef dives as oppose to muck. There seem to be some schooling fish and turtles as well. If you go to the dive operators' websites (I think El Dive is better for this info), they have a description of some of the dive sites at Bacuit Bay. South Miniloc seems best, to me, at least).


    Air Swift has a direct flight to El Nido from Manila, Cebu and maybe Bohol and a few other cities. It also flies Coron to El Nido, if you are in a rush to get from one place to the other. You can book online . Their website is easy to navigate and managing booking is also easy. They only allow 10 kg free checked bag, however. One needs to pay for the extra weights, which can be done online as well.

    The tourism dept. at El Nido recently made changes to tour packages. Some of the popular lagoons and beaches have limited access and an imposed marine fee for entrance. Tour operators are supposed to get permits for each passenger prior to boarding. I don't know how long this process takes. Just fyi. My kins booked our island hoping tour on Klook.com website.

    Sorry for the information/non-information but I hope this helps some.
     
  10. jhshrops

    jhshrops Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Madison Wisconsin
    21
    5
    THANKS/SALAMAT titatom
     
    Titatom likes this.

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